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Southern Baptist Convention’s Investigation into Sexual Abuse Response Advances | Nationwide

Nashville, Tennessee (AP) — Rev. Marshall Bralock feels the weight of his new responsibilities.

A South Carolina minister is Vice-Chair of the recently formed Southern Baptist Convention Task Force, overseeing an investigation into how the Supreme Sectarian Commission handled allegations of sexual abuse. increase.

Bralock believes that the Task Force’s activities, launched in June by a vote of the Southern Baptist Convention at a national rally, could be a fundamental part of how SBC will tackle this issue in the future.

“If the Task Force does what the convention requires and the Executive Committee responds favorably, the future will be towards preventing, responding appropriately and caring for survivors of sexual abuse. I think we’re really taking a big step towards setting up, “Bralock said.

The sexual abuse scandal came into the limelight in 2019 with groundbreaking reports from the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News. It contains hundreds of incidents at the Southern Baptist Convention.

The task force, appointed by SBC’s new president Ed Litton, consisting of seven members of idyllic, legal, counseling and advocacy experts, has the executive committee mishandled abuse cases and resisted reforms. It is responsible for overseeing the investigation of allegations of external companies that threatened victims and defenders.

“We are tired of abuse and have to deal with it,” said Lytton, who was elected in June in a division over race, the role of women in the church, and how to deal with the abuse problem. He spoke at a recent event. “But I think there’s a clear message that this isn’t a witch hunt. It’s an opportunity for us to pave the way for the future.”

More than two months have passed and the Task Force has completed two major tasks. One is to select Guidepost Solutions to be a third-party company conducting the investigation, and the other is to ask the executive committee to waive their attorney / client privileges for the next business investigation. .. meeting.

Rev. Bruce Frank, Pastor of North Carolina and Chair of the Task Force, said:

The executive committee welcomed the choice of guideposts and said it was the same research firm that was planned to be used before the task force was formed.

“We look forward to reuniting with the rubber poles and quickly coordinate our activities to support their important work,” the Commission said in a statement this month.

Jules Woodson, a survivor of sexual abuse in a church based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, remains vigilant, but hopes that meaningful changes will come first for the SBC. She was encouraged after meeting the Task Force, and she said she wanted to get involved with the guideposts, even though she was still skeptical of the company.

“It is very difficult as a survivor to put faith, hope and trust in the people, processes and systems that have made us constantly fail,” Woodson said. “For the first time in my life, I’ve finally seen it moving in the right direction.”

She said when a trustee of the SBC’s Public Policy Sector, the Ethics and Religion Freedom Commission, recently made a plan to understand that ERLC was ready to lead the assessment of sexual abuse within the sect. How do you say that you shed tears of joy?

In a statement, Brent Leatherwood, Acting Chairman of the Commission, said, “We must continue to confront the evil of abuse. As mentioned earlier, our church is safe for survivors and safe from abuse. Must be. “

A motion approved by the delegation at the June rally urged the Task Force to agree on the standards and best practices recommended by third-party investigators. Access to review information and accuracy. “

Frank, the task force chairman, sent a formal request for waiver of privileges on August 2, “Ensuring full access to relevant information, full accountability and transparency, and taking steps to reform. It is important to evaluate properly. “

The Executive Committee did not make a commitment in the statement, but in principle did not oppose such a request, stating that “opposition speculation is an Internet rumor, not true.” The Commission is expected to meet on Monday and Tuesday to address the issue of waiver.

Executive Committee Chairman Roland Slade said he would support the request because it was the will of the members at the June meeting. “We are obliged to carry out and comply with the wishes of the messenger.”

Rachel Denhollander, a lawyer and advocate, one of the Task Force’s two advisors, said that identifying, recognizing, and acknowledging the truth makes a meaningful and effective change. Said it was important for.

“If the executive committee decides not to relinquish its privileges, they send a clear message that they are denying accountability and transparency,” said Denhollander.

Woodson said everything would not be lost in such a scenario, but responsibility would again be placed on the survivors.

“How many times do I have to go out and talk over and over again?” She said.

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The Associated Press’s religious coverage is supported by Lilly Endowment through The Conversation US. AP is solely responsible for this content.

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Southern Baptist Convention’s Investigation into Sexual Abuse Response Advances | Nationwide

Source link Southern Baptist Convention’s Investigation into Sexual Abuse Response Advances | Nationwide

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